Russia, Iran Express Support for Restoring Nuclear Deal to Original Form

Reuters
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian hold a joint news conference following their meeting, in Moscow, Russia last month.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian hold a joint news conference following their meeting, in Moscow, Russia last month.Credit: POOL/ REUTERS
Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian both expressed support for restoring a 2015 nuclear deal to its original form, the RIA news agency reported on Saturday, citing Russia's foreign ministry.

Under the 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers, Tehran curbed its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of U.S., UN and European Union sanctions.

President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday Iran would not back down "in any way" in the defense of its interests, after the sides announced that nuclear talks would resume on November 29.

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On Friday, Iranian state media reported that Iran has increased its stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium to 25 kilograms (55 pounds).

While negotiations are due to resume at the end of the month in Vienna, Western powers have said Iran's accelerating enrichment of uranium closer to weapons grade, breaching limits set by the pact after Washington under then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018, is dimming chances of salvaging it.

The nuclear deal caps the purity to which Tehran can refine uranium at 3.67 percent, the level suitable for most civilian nuclear energy, well under the 20 percent achieved before the 2015 deal and far below the 90 percent suitable for a nuclear weapon.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration says it wants to return to the deal but disagrees with Iran on which steps need to be taken and when, with key issues being what nuclear limits Tehran will accept and what sanctions Washington will remove.

Western officials and analysts believe Tehran's escalation of enrichment, while being in no hurry to return to talks that were adjourned in June when an anti-Western hardliner was elected president, is meant to gain leverage to extract more concessions when negotiations do resume.

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